Emirates, one of the leading Middle East airlines, has been permitted by the Indian government to operate eight direct flights a week from Bangalore to Dubai and vice-versa.
Beginning September 29, the airline will operate a daily flight in both directions from Monday to Saturday and an additional flight Wednesdays and Fridays in a week. There will be no service on Sundays.
"Bangalore will be our eighth destination in India to operate and fifth in the southern region, with Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata being other destinations.
We will be operating Airbus 300-200 and Boeing 777-200, with a seat capacity of 237 seats in each aircraft under three classes -- first, business/club and economy class," Emirates sales head in Karnataka Pradeep Suvarna said here.
With attractive introductory fares in the first month of launching the service, Emirates hopes to achieve a passenger load factor of 80-90 percent to Dubai and onward destinations in Europe, North America and Africa. The two-way fares range from Rs 14,000 for economy class and Rs 27,000 for business class to Rs 32,000 for the first class.
The additional eight flights from here will take the total number of flights to and for India to 71 from 63 a week, with Mumbai having the major share (19 flights), followed by Chennai, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram (eight each), seven from Delhi and Kochi and six from Kolkata.
"Hereafter, Emirates passengers from Bangalore or any city/town across Karnataka will not have to go to Mumbai or Chennai for boarding our flights. They will also be saving on time and cost by flying to Dubai or onwards directly," Suvarna said.
Besides upmarket business travellers, especially from the knowledge sector, the airline is targetting tourists and families of expats living in the Gulf. By providing connecting flights to European and US cities from Dubai, the company hopes to generate enough outbound traffic on both ways.
"As India's silicon hub, Bangalore is the fastest growing city in the sub-continent. We have seen a steady growth of business and tourist traffic generating from this city and state.
Even hundreds of Arabs have been looking for direct flights to Bangalore for a holiday or healthcare. The city's salubrious weather and global brand as the tech hub are added attractions," Suvarna pointed out.
In addition, the airline's tour operating division will offer Emirates Holidays with flexible, affordable and quality packages to over 100 leisure destinations in 36 countries. The service will initially be to four exotic European destinations -- Nicosia, Athens, London and Munich, with the packages priced from Rs 32,441-55,546.
"The package will be per person in twin sharing and includes economy class airfare, accommodation with room tax and service charges in premium hotels. The other destinations for holiday-makers are in Europe, North America, Africal, Indian Ocean, Asia, Australasia and the Middle East," Suvarna said.
To attract leisure travellers as family or groups on both sides, the airline will also offer a special bonanza for bookings between September 19-Nov 30 that will include a draw to win a complimentary holiday for two to Dubai.
As part of its novel scheme for frequent fliers, first and business class passengers travelling on return tickets from Bangalore to select destinations will be rewarded with 25,000 bonus Skyward Miles in addition to the regular miles earned on the flight.
"Emirates is delighted to launch operations from Bangalore. We want passengers from this tech city and Karnataka to enjoy our service with the range of splendid deals," Emirates vice-president for India and Nepal Salem Obaidalla said.